Over Christmas I read Nik Ripken’s challenging book ‘The Insanity of God’. It is built around his experiences with Christians in persecution, as he sought to understand how their faith has survived under intense evil. The book is writter a pseudo name to protect the identity of many followers of Jesus around the world suffering under severe persecution. Here is one quote from the book:
I asked the question this evening: “If I were to visit your home communities and talk with the nonbelieving families, friends, and neighbors of the members of your house churches—and if I would point out your church members and ask, ‘Who are those people? What can you tell me about them?’—what answer would I get?” Many people started to answer at once. The response that jumped out at me, though, was the answer of a man who told me that his church’s neighbors would probably say, “Those are the people who raise the dead!” “REALLY!” I blurted out involuntarily. Several of the men in the room, especially the older men, smiled and nodded. I was stunned. Then, as if to validate the claim, people around the table began recounting story after story from their own churches—stories of healings, stories of miraculous answers to prayer, stories of supernatural occurrences, stories that could be explained only by the activity of God. These miraculous events seemed to be milepost markers in their personal faith journeys. These were the happenings that had forever proven God’s power in their minds. These were the stories that had drawn unbelievers into Christ’s Kingdom. In addition to reminding me of who God really is, these amazing narratives helped me connect a few more dots. What I had just heard in China was additional persuasive evidence in support of what started as a hypothesis in the former USSR. This hypothesis was quickly becoming a conviction: God seemed to be demonstrating His power on earth today in places like Russia and China. It seemed that He was using the same miraculous and supernatural means that He used in the first-century church of the New Testament. (The Insanity of God, 2013)
That quote particularly struck me because it again underlined what we increasingly hear from many missionaries around the world. God is still doing same things we see in the pages of the New Testament. Not because He must but because He chooses to do so. And God being faithful He seems to be really at work there.
The other thing that really struck me is the simplicity of faith in these difficult places. Persecuted Christians have no time for large conferences, book signing ceremonies, political movements, large theological volumes and who knows what else we see in Christendom these days. They are just living it out and counting it all joy. Trusting the God of the Bible and experiencing Him on a daily basis in ordinary life. I long for that simplicity of trust in Christ. Very challenging book!
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013